If you're a Westpac Bank customer and you wonder what the numerous ever-increasing bank fees you pay every month (or more frequently) are used for, then the revelation this week that the bank's boss gets paid over $5 million a year makes it obvious.
George Frazis was paid A$ 4.39 million (NZ$ 5.65 million) for the year ended 30 September to head the bank's New Zealand operations.
Needless to say, the pay packet size for the bank boss has been criticised by the bank's union as unethical.
"We think it is unethical to pay such a large salary to one person while the economy falters and the average worker has seen no or limited wage growth," said Andrew Campbell, Finsec campaigns director.
A high proportion of the package related to short-term benefits, which concerned the union. "An excessive focus on short term gains for senior bankers was a key driver of the global financial crisis and economic collapse," he said. The pay package raised questions about the need for executive salary controls in New Zealand.
"Hard working front line staff earn a fraction of this but often work long hours in tough conditions. We urge the Westpac board to consider measures to make pay across the bank more equitable," Mr Campbell said.
However, what NZ bank bosses get is actually modest by comparison with what they get in Australia.
As we have said before, there must be an end to banker bonuses - and the Dutch and French governments, among others, have put hefty taxes on them.
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